By Siyabonga Maphumulo

Mayor Obed Mlaba has declared that the process of renaming Durban streets and buildings would continue as prescribed by a nationally gazetted law. His comments follow this week’s protest march in the city centre and claims from opposition parties that the ANC was "attempting to rewrite history in its favour".

Mlaba said despite the uproar from some quarters, the renaming was long overdue and would continue. "The (renaming) process has not even begun to extend to eThekwini areas such as Umkomaas in the south."

Mlaba said: "We want to acknowledge that not all those who have responded to this issue have done so emotively. Some people have raised valid and considered argument against some of the proposed names and these will be considered before final decisions are taken." City Manager Michael Sutcliffe said the process to renaming streets had been accepted by all councillors and now it was time for the public to make "submissions which would allow the (Masakhane, Grants-in-Aid, Non Racism, Non Sexism and Non Discrimination) committee to decide on which streets will be renamed and what names they would be given".

Sutcliffe said those responsible for this week's "thuggery and criminal behaviour" during the march would be dealt with. He said organisers of the march by IFP, DA and ACDP supporters – which turned chaotic when marchers uprooted litterbins and vandalised informal trading stalls in the city centre – would "pay for wrecking the city".

He said members of the public had been assaulted; road signs had been broken and, in some instances, roads blockaded. The Mangosuthu Highway in Umlazi was barricaded with burning tyres and bins early on Tuesday. Metro Police reported damage to shops in the city centre. And a marcher has been arrested for being in possession of a .303 rifle.
Mlaba slammed the violence and criticised detractors of the renaming process for failing to put forward proposals. "Those who are reacting as they did chose not to participate in the process of proposing names and we are taken aback they choose instead to take to the streets brandishing weapons."

The DA said the process of name changing was “flawed” and “the public was being denied the right to submit alternate names if they are not happy with the proposed names”. Submit your comments on the renamings to: Municipal Manager, 41 Margaret Mncadi Avenue, Durban 4001;

e-mail: corporategis@durban.gov.za

, fax: 031 311 4024 by no later than Friday, 11 May. Submissions will be sent to the Masakhane committee for final consideration.